Patient Education

CAD, also known as coronary heart disease (CHD) or ischemic heart disease (IHD), is a type of cardiovascular disease (CVD). It's a progressive atherosclerotic condition in which plaque builds up in the coronary arteries over time.1 CAD encompasses a wide spectrum of manifestations and symptoms, from patients who are completely asymptomatic to those who have already experienced a myocardial infarction (MI) and/or revascularization procedures.2

Progression of Atherosclerosis3

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), atherosclerosis progresses as follows3:

Healthy artery

Plaque (made up of calcium, fat, cholesterol, and other substances in the blood) forms in the lining of the artery

Plaque collects, restricting arterial blood flow

Plaque ruptures, forming blood clots and limiting blood flow

Risk Factors

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), risk for CAD and MI increases with the number of risk factors a patient has. For patients with known or suspected CAD, certain factors can be controlled through lifestyle modifications or treatment. Age, sex, and family history cannot be changed.1

Fixed Risk Factors1
  • Age (≥45 years in men and ≥55 years in women)
  • Sex (men may be at higher risk of obstructive CAD)
  • Family history of premature CAD (onset in a male relative before the age of 55 or a female relative before the age of 65)
  • Age (≥45 years in men and ≥55 years in women)
  • Sex (men may be at higher risk of obstructive CAD)
  • Family history of premature CAD (onset in a male relative before the age of 55 or a female relative before the age of 65)
Manageable Risk Factors1
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Diabetes and prediabetes
  • Smoking
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Hypertension
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Stress

These risk factors may be controlled to reduce risk for CAD and MI.1

Lifestyle Changes

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Be physically active

Medical Treatment

  • Control cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Prevent blood clots
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Diabetes and prediabetes
  • Smoking
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Hypertension
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Stress

These risk factors may be controlled to reduce risk for CAD and MI.1

Lifestyle Changes

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Be physically active

Medical Treatment

  • Control cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Prevent blood clots